Ready to wear
Dior responds to your liquid lipstick obsession with the ultimate luxury line
Let it be known that makeup maestro Peter Philips, the creative and image director of Christian Dior Makeup, enjoys a YouTube makeup tutorial. “Spectacular applications like [those with] liquid lipsticks… a girl with big lips doing a beautiful matte beige or a blue or a red, and it looks so effortless, it looks spectacular,” he straight up gushes when we meet in Tokyo.
In world saturated with makeup artists – seasoned, budding, aspiring, niche – Philips is a singular force. While honing his craft in London’s magazines, he built a reputation for sophistication and inspired femininity, working with a who’s who of photographers that included Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, Steven Klein and Craig McDean. He’s also been responsible for a lion’s share of boundary-pushing runway makeup looks at Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela and of course Christian Dior, his home base since 2014.
So here we are sharing a couch, as Philips speaks freely of his admiration for beauty vlogs, except for one thing: those liquid lipsticks that lend themselves to such beautiful sweeps of colour? They’re not quite so forgiving in real life. “After an hour, you can’t move your lips,” he says. “It doesn’t age nicely. It fades, it’s uncomfortable and it’s damaging. Because it’s such hardcore pigments, you know? There’s no refinement in the formulas. It’s very much instant makeup.”
Some of his friends have bought into the fantasy, spent money on products, and proceeded to get extremely frustrated about their inability to replicate the literally flawless pouts they have seen. “They say ‘Oh my god, it looks so amazing on the Internet and I can’t do it,’ and they think it’s their fault,” he says. The Belgian makeup legend wasn’t having it. “I think it’s a formula problem.”
He turned it into his personal mission to create a formula that offers all the promises of liquid lip colour – smooth application, long wear, a beautiful finish – but also comfort. Just as well. His employers at Dior Makeup have more than 50 years of laboratory
philips’ mission: to create a formula with all the promises of liquid lip colour, but also comfort.
experience and quite easily produced the 29-shade collection, out now. Just creating a great matte finish, however, would be aiming too low. Alongside the staple, Philips has devised shade families with velvet, metallic and satin effects.
The Velvet Nudes can be used for anything from a Sixties pale lip to a polished, full taupe. (Check out Jungle Matte 614, an almost-universally flattering neutral brown.) Liquid Electric Metal may be the most radical range Dior has ever created, with a finish akin to nail varnish, and shades ranging from the flaming copper of Rock’N’Metal 751 to gem-like Poison Metal 979. Colours in the Liquid Pop Satin family provide just the right amount of sheen; see Fab Satin, a blackened plum with a satin finish, and what Philips calls “the best Dior Rouge Liquid.”
The creative class
If you ever had any doubt that your side thing could evolve into a main thing, see Peter Philips. What began for him as a routine deep-dive into the Dior archives for packaging inspiration snowballed into one-half of Autumn’s mega lipstick launch. “I was doing research for packaging ideas, so I made a little file of old packaging from Dior and made a little moodboard,” he recalls. “And on my moodboard there was this picture of a Nineties lipstick from Dior.”
When he shopped the ideas to some millennial colleagues, he was stunned by their very, very good reactions to the product itself. Sporting an outer ring and different inner core, one of the most memorable designs of the decade had apparently predated this young audience completely, rendering the concept fresh in their eyes. “They were like, is this like a new product? Is it like an ombré effect?” he shares, amused.
This unexpected interest from precisely the right demographic warranted further investigation. What’s old can be given new life, Philips thought. Taking Autumn 2017’s collection of matte and metallic finishes as his template, he decided on matte outer rings, to effectively function as lipliners, matched with metallic insides for a plumped up, pop effect, and set out crafting colour combinations.
The first was mined from the decade of grunge, with a matte taupe ring surrounding pearlescent pink. Once applied, it’s an obvious update of the supermodel contoured lip: dark beige outside and pale inside. Many shades are eclectic variations of an intense matte and lighter metallic, while others are monotone. Dior’s iconic 999 Matte, for example, has been given a metallic red core. There are also tone-ontones in tangerine, fuchsia and sweet pink. “We tried a lot… I ended up with 20 sticks, which means 40 colours. It started as a side project but became much bigger,” says Philips.
You can blame serendipity for Dior Double Rouge, but it’s 100 per cent Philips’ intuition for slightly off-kilter explosions of colour and texture that really make these cheeky lipsticks.
Rouge Dior Liquid, RM125
“If you have strong shades like Rouge Liquid in Poison Metal 979, do a very soft smoky eye in brown tones. A soft glowy blush it will connect everything and become more harmonious.” “When you do metallics on your lips, I wouldn’t do metallic on the eye...